The morning is such a vital time of the day.

  • Your peak energy awaits you
  • Your desk is clear (for now)
  • Your schedule is in time blocks
  • The sun is shining (at least for a few more months)
  • Breakfast is the tastiest meal of the day, if you do it right (think bacon)
  • No one around – meaning no interruptions or distractions

You can begin your day exactly how you want.

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Are you hurrying, or taking your time?

For the first 4 years of my career I was running all over the house getting ready. I’m simultaneously grinding coffee beans, making my lunch sandwich, steaming my shirt and pants in the shower, answering texts, and then hurrying to my car.

Only to sit still in the commuter traffic of Northern Virginia.

I felt it somewhat “incorrect” how I was starting my days: hectic, hurried and mindlessly (robot-like).

But I had no idea where to start – what was I doing wrong? Why was it wrong? What are successful people doing in the morning?

If you’re feeling that your launch pad (morning) is riddled with stress, you may want to take a step back. Look at it with an honest mind, and define the reason for each activity that’s part of your routine.

A role model of mine and startup guru; Noah Kagan pioneered a profound acronym (albeit, kind of ugly sounding): GEBY.

  • Gratitude
  • Exercise
  • Breakfast
  • You

I’ll walk through my interpretation and how I set the days up for productivity, positivity, and fulfillment.

Now, I’m not endorsing my method as the “correct” one. But, it’s benefitted me and several measurable ways.

The main takeaway you should leave the post with is: shake up your routine once in a quarter.

I’ve noticed a few benefits of a well-thought-out morning routine:

  • Better mood
  • Better social interactions with the most dreadful of bosses (another story for another day)
  • Eliminated morning stress
  • Improved productivity

That said, here’s my interpretation of Noah’s recommendation:

  • Gratitude
    • I write down 3-4 things I’m genuinely thankful for in my life on my whiteboard.
    • These may include: a close friend, a recent business development, the opportunity to be an entrepreneur (in general), being born in a free country, or good food (pizza and tacos, yo)
  • Exercise
    • Following 10 or 15 minute YouTube videos that lead me through either a Yoga practice,  a full body or an ab workout.
    • These don’t replace my gym/lifting sessions – rather they’re supplemental physical mobility tools. Yoga has substantially improved my flexibility, and I’m no longer prone to shoulder injury.
    • The mornings I do yoga, my body feels limber, mobile and “ready”,  instead of stiff from laying flat all night.
  • Breakfast
    • The slow carb diet for me.
    • That means: ½ cup raw spinach, ½ cup of black beans or lentils and 2-3 fried eggs, with sriracha for flavor. You can read about why i eat this diet here.
  • You
    • This is generally supposed to be a treat for yourself or some recognition of your own achievements.
    • For me? I meditate for 15 minutes using Headspace. That’s a treat and a blessing, if you ask me.
    • We all do “me time” in our own special way

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What’s your favorite part of the morning routine? Let me know in the comments!Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

Jonathan Maxim
Jonathan Maxim is an app designer, digital marketer and thought leader in the fitness and technology realms. After leaving his job at a Fortune 50 company, he merged his management experience with his passion for technology and innovation to create Apps that encourage fitness and wellness. Educated at San Diego State University first in Graphic Design and User Interface, he went on to gain his Masters of Business from SDSU as well. Currently he serves as founder and CEO of Vea Fitness, an app that rewards you for working out with monetary incentives.